Sukhothai’s La Scala epitomizes hotel fine dining. Less stuffy than Le Normandie, it shares the nosebleed prices and veteran staff with a photographic memory of Bangkok’s one percent. The Italian food remains excellent but slip-ups seem to have become more common since late 2015.
Sense of occasion remains at its highest, though. The hotel is by Kerry Hills, the interiors by Ed Tuttle and the restaurant itself by Spin, a Japanese Design firm with a string of commissions from the Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton. Bronze and terracotta discreetly reference regional architecture of old while the leather banquettes and glass cubes exude ‘90s Tokyo luxury.
Everyone here seems to order the schiacciatina pizza (B790), so you might as well call out for it to the central open kitchen as soon as you walk in. The thin-crust pizza sandwich stuffed with Parma ham, rocket salad and mascarpone cheese is one of the tastiest things you’ll ever eat. Those watching their carbs can settle for the equally decadent 24-month “Riserva” Parma ham with bufala mozzarella campania (B980), a beautiful globe of gooey, creamy goodness.
We wish Scala would dazzle with more than its produce, though. The spaghetti mare (B1,280) uses fresh clams, tiger prawns, mussels and scallops, but the white wine sauce is just good, not weep-worthy. The orecchiette pasta with Italian sausage and broccoli (B980) even verges on stodgy, a flavor combination that neither gels nor contrasts.
In pure Italian tradition, you’re meant to top it all off with some grilled meat, like the Australian lamb cutlets (250g, B1,750), a tender rack of meat served with potato mousseline and mushrooms that seem like a bit of an afterthought. Alternatively, there are three fish dishes (B1,900-2,800) and some highly-marbled Aussie beef (B2,200). To be fair, three courses would be too much food for most of us, meaning the smart way to order here is family-style.
It’s been a couple of years since La Scala made it all the way to Top Tables top 10 in Bangkok. The experience feels as luxe as ever, but those in it exclusively for the food can now get more bang for their buck elsewhere. Corkage charge B750